Underground » Health and Safety
The objective of this project was to develop and demonstrate the effective dust control technology and strategies for longwall faces, in particular, the development of a novel shearer scrubber/curtain system to reduce respirable dust contaminations in the walkway area. This project covers stage 1 works of the proposed scrubber development and involves detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling studies with shearer suction fans and other airflow modifying devices and assessment of various designs and concepts with industry involvement.
Three dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models have been developed to investigate airflow behaviour and respirable dust dispersion patterns in thick seam longwalls. An uncoupled approach was adopted to model the dust particle dispersion patterns, in which all the dust particles were treated as ‘respirable’ and as such the discrete phase has no impact on the continuous phase flow (airflow) pattern. The dispersion of particles due to turbulence in the continuous phase (airflow) was tracked by using the stochastic tracking model. Methane gas (CH4) was also released from the face spalling areas to mimic the dispersion of respirable dust particles from these sources.
Extensive parametric studies have been conducted to investigate the dust control effectiveness of a variety of curtain shapes, orientations and shearer scrubber configurations. The study indicated that the combination of a shearer scrubber with properly installed aerofoil curtains along and ahead of the shearer could significantly improve the effectiveness of the scrubber and the diversion of respirable dust particles induced by the MG cutting drum.
Preliminary CFD evaluations were conducted for the prototype designs of a new scrubber system. CFD modelling has proved to be a cost-effective tool in the optimisation process for the new scrubber system which is currently under development as a second stage of the research work through project C14036.